Urgent Care Notes: Determining Whether a Camping Burn is an Emergency

It’s no denying that camping is one of America’s favorite pastimes. In Washington, Snohomish County is one of the top camping destinations. With its mild climate, vast forest expanse, and easy access to urban centers, the place is a great option for outdoor adventures and fun all year round.

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Despite the county’s strict burn ban implementation, the camp fire tradition is still freely practiced without necessarily securing a permit, provided the fire meets the 3ft x 3ft x 2ft size limit. Nevertheless, care must always be observed as neglect could harm campers and start huge open fires as well, especially during dry seasons like summer. Among the common consequences of campfire handling mishaps are burns, whose degree and medical attention needed may vary.

First aid kits are a must in every camping trip; a camper ought to know that. Identifying the degree of burn, though, will help you determine whether a situation can be dealt with on your own for the mean time, and can be checked in an urgent care clinic when you get back to urban Everett, or if it’s an emergency and it’s time to pack up.

According to a professional from an urgent care clinic, like U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group, to differentiate a minor burn from a serious burn, you must first check the extent of damage to the skin tissues. The less serious type is the first-degree burn, wherein only the outer skin layer is affected. Accidentally touching a burning coal or a hot stove can lead to a first-degree burn. The skin usually turns red and is often accompanied by pain and swelling.

Second-degree burns, on the other hand, occur when the dermis (2nd inner skin layer), is also scalded.  The pain is much more intense, blisters form and some of these may even pop, giving the burn a wet, skinning appearance. The size should exceed no more than 3 inches in diameter, otherwise, it becomes an emergency situation. Immediate medical attention is also essential if substantial portions of the face, extremities, groin, buttocks and other soft tissues are affected, regardless of whether it’s a minor or serious burn.

Burns can put an abrupt end to your wilderness outing. Make sure you use a tent made of a flame-resistant fabric. Your fire should be built away from the tent and is completely extinguished when unused. Always have an extinguisher at hand. Minimize coal ignition and avoid using flammable liquids, as this can create a huge fire. Most importantly, strictly follow fire regulations and ensure that you have a contact number of the nearest urgent care center and emergency services department.

Source: Outdoor Burning Information, Snohomish County

Source: Camping – Fire & Burn Safety, Burn Prevention Network

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